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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Ted Cruz is heading back to Texas, fresh off a 21-plus hour speech on the U.S. Senate floor that left his already burning-bright political star white-hot.

The tea party darling and possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate is keynoting an Austin conference of political newsmakers Friday evening.

He rose in the Senate on Tuesday and talked all night and into the following afternoon, yielding only to fellow Republicans who posed long-winded questions so Cruz could rest his voice.

Cruz has vowed to halt funding to the White House-backed health care reform law or shut down the government trying. But he knew before beginning his talkathon that it wouldn't accomplish either goal.

The spectacle enraged many colleagues in both parties, but it made Cruz even more a hero among grassroots conservative activists.

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